tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS December 11, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
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is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley reporting tonight from washington. >> pelley: good evening. as bank slogans go they don't come any worse than this: the preferred financial institution of drug cartels and money launders. that is a quote today in a u.s. department of justice report about h.s.b.c. holdings, one of the largest banks in the world. to avoid criminal prosecution, h.s.b.c. admitted today that it laundered more than $800 million for mexican drug cartels and covered up illegal transactions for burma, iran, sudan, cuba, and libya. those nations were under banking sanctions because of human rights atrocities, terrorism, or, in iran's case, a nuclear program. the british bank will pay $1.9
billion to the u.s. government, the largest such fine
in history. senior correspondent john miller is in new york following the story for us tonight. john? >> reporter: scott, it's a case that has everything: everything except an arrest. and that struck some as odd because in an 80-page document of court papers, the bank admits to almost going out of its way to act as a financial clearing house for international pariahs and drug dealers. h.s.b.c. officials listed mexico in its lowest risk category for money laundering during a four- year period when mexican drug cartels were funneling hundreds of millions of dollars through the bank. u.s. attorney loretta lynch. >> the investigation revealed that staggering amounts of cash, hundreds of thousands of u.s. dollars daily, were being deposited into h.s.b.c. mexico using boxes specially made to fit through their teller's windows to speed the
transactions. >> reporter: it wasn't just the drug cartels that benefited from what prosecutors called the bank's willful failure to report suspicious activity. h.s.b.c. instructed an iranian bank how to conceal $183 million in transactions. h.s.b.c. also admitted to cutting the number of internal watchdogs to save money. assistant attorney general lanny breuer. >> h.s.b.c. is paying a heavy price for its conduct. and under the terms of today's agreement, if the bank fails to comply with this agreement in any way, any way at all, we, of course, in the government, reserve the right to prosecute the bank. >> reporter: under the terms of today's settlement, nobody at h.s.b.c. will face criminal charges. notre dame professor jimmy gurule investigated money laundering cases for the treasury department. >> we're not talking about mere negligence, we're talking about a criminal scheme that was adopted as a policy of h.s.b.c. to look the other way with regard to suspicious
transactions involving money laundering. >> reporter: some would say that the message is: if you break all the laws you can, until you get caught you may have to pay a lot of money but you're not going to go to jail. >> that's a very short-sighted view, i think. because in this case they're obviously paying a great deal of money. but they also have had to literally turn their company inside out and the message should be that that's what you have to do. >> reporter: so turn their company inside out. in a statement from its london headquarters, h.s.b.c. said it has cleaned house, firing top executives, taking back their bonuses. now the bank has to demonstrate to a federal monitor that they're in compliance with all laws for five years. scott? >> pelley: john, with all of this apparent evidence, why didn't the department of justice press a criminal prosecution on the money laundering charges? >> reporter: that's a question we kept asking today and the closest we got to it was they said they that they never found
one bank official or any collection of bank officials acting together that were doing this on purpose. they painted a picture of a disorganized bank not communicating with itself that was collecting all of these fees and either not knowing or not wanting to know where it was all coming from. >> pelley: thank you, john. let's go to jim axel rod in new york who is covering breaking news for us tonight. >> we're just getting word of a shooting at the shopping mall in portland oregon. john black stone has the late-breaking news. >> reporter: at the portland area shopping mall, witnesses say a man wearing black clothing and a white halloween mask opened fire with arrival. first reports said at least two were wounded but many more shots were fired. student jamie gibson was at the mall and called cbs affiliate. >> there were a lot of people diving. i'm hoping that they weren't getting shot.
but there was a lot of people falling and hiding, hiding behind things. a lot of people running. a lot of screaming, crying babies. >> reporter: police set up triage tents outside the mall's century city theater, bringing back memories of the shooting this summer at the chain's denver area theater. shopper christina fisher says the shooting started near the foot court. >> i heard something similar to a 22 popping, probably eight times. and people dropping everywhere. people screaming. then people just turned and started running in terror. >> reporter: police confirmed at least one dead. they said that the gunman was, quote, neutralized. john blackstone, cbs news, san francisco. >> we now return to scott pelley in washington.
>> pelley: organized labor suffered a defeat today. michigan, the birthplace of the united auto workers, became the 24th right to work state. that means workers cannot be forced to join a union or pay union dues to get a job. the law was passed today by the republican legislature and signed by the governor. elaine quijano is in lancing for us tonight. >> right to work has got to go! >> reporter: union members from across michigan and other states voiced their anger at the michigan capital. mike huerta has been a member of the united auto workers union since 1997. >> no one wants this in this state. this state is where the birthplace of the united auto workers is, this place is where unions built the middle-class. >> reporter: but republican governor rick snyder insists the legislation will help workers by not forcing them to join unions or pay dues. >> if they don't see value in the union in terms of its activities, should they be forced to pay financial resources for that? i don't believe so. give them choice. >> reporter: the governor and republican lawmakers argue the legislation will attract businesses and keep jobs in michigan.
union members argue it will result in lower wages. clear evidence for either argument is inconclusive. workers in right-to-work states do earn $300 more than their counterparts in non-right to work states according to data collected by a group arguing for right to work. but five of the 11 sates with the highest unemployment have right-to-work laws, including nevada, which has the highest unemployment rate in the nation. united auto workers member reggie smith has been a union member for more than 35 years. he warns michigan voters have long memories. >> you've spoken to the people and they're speaking back to you today and they'll take care of you when it comes time for election again. i guarantee you. >> reporter: scott, if he runs for reelection, governor snyder will face the voters in two years. >> pelley: thanks, elaine. president obama and house speaker john boehner talked by phone today about the so-called fiscal cliff-- those tax hikes for most americans and massive spending cuts that will kick in the first of the year unless two
strike a budget deal. a republican source tells us that the president has cut his demand for more tax revenue from $1.6 trillion to $1.4 trillion, but the source said that the lower figure is no more acceptable to republicans. but the negotiations continue in private. the united states has a lot at stake in the syrian civil war. president obama has suggested that american firepower might be needed to prevent the dictatorship from using chemical weapons. we've learned that tomorrow the administration will endorse one of the rebel groups that is now fighting to overthrow bashar al- assad. who are these new american allies? clarissa ward found their leader in brussels. >> reporter: moaz al-khatib is the man chosen to lead a newly formed coalition of syria's
opposition groups. what does it mean to be recognized by the u.s.? "the u.s. administration has big influence globally" he told us. "a step like that would pull the rug from under the regime on all levels: politically, economically, and militarily." the damascus-born cleric has long been an outspoken critic of the syrian government. he's been jailed several times since the uprising began. in july, he finally fled to cairo. now he travels the world asking for international support for syria's opposition. do you feel that the international community has done enough to help syria? >> not at all. >> reporter: "the international community fell short in its support to the syrian people" he said. "but it's starting to wake up now." so far, though, the u.s. has refused to arm the rebels because of concerns about the rising role of islamic extremists in the rebellion. "i think the media has exaggerated this whole issue" he said. we've spent quite a bit of time inside syria. on the ground we've seen extremists operating.
"the media has been reporting that there are terrorist and radical groups" he said. "but we have not seen concrete evidence to support such claims yet." would you like to be the president of syria? >> i am not thinking about that now. >> reporter: but with rebels closing in on the capital, the question of who takes over from the regime is an urgent one. >> pelley: and clarissa ward is joining us from london tonight. clarissa, these syrian rebels are fractureed into a number of groups and one of them was labeled a terrorist organization by the obama administration today. what can you tell us about them? >> well, scott, nusra is one of a number of shadowy radical islamist groups on the ground. they've been welcomed by many syrians because of their numerous military successes. but the arrival of these types
of groups has created a real shift on the ground that we as journalist cans even feel. rebel fighters now asking us "do you work for the c.i.a.? do you work for israel?" a lot more talk about jihad. and often these voices are drowning out the voices of more moderate activists. >> pelley: anything can happen in this volatile part of the world. clarissa, thanks very much. egypt remains divided too. thousands protests tonight both for and against president mohammed morsi. some tried to scale the walls of the presidential palace. morsi is insisting on a national vote this saturday on a new constitution, but opponents say it takes away too many of their rights. a killer is caught on video just before he pulled the trigger. how sand saved some homes from sandy. and a mini-shuttle heads off on a secret mission to space. when the cbs evening news continues from washington.
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of washington about the future of medicare and social security. anncr: but you deserve straight talk about the options on the... table and what they mean for you and your family. ancr: aarp is cutting through all the political spin. because for our 37 million members, only one word counts. get the facts at earnedasay.org. let's keep medicare... and social security strong for generations to come. >> pelley: six weeks aft >> pelley: six weeks after superstorm sandy, fema told us today half of homeowners want federal help. at least 356,000 homes were damaged or destroyed-- most in new york and new jersey. it turns out, many other homes were not damaged because they were protected by million-dollar sand dunes. that was something we wanted to know more about so we sent seth doane. 45, 50-year-old cape cod.
>> reporter: jeff davis road out >> reporter: pretty lucky for a 45, 50-year-old cape cod. >> reporter: jeff davis road out sandy in his home on new jersey's long beach island. your house is in pretty good shape. you fared well. >> we were lucky, we were lucky. >> reporter: his house was saved by this wall of sand, part of a $16.8 million army corps of engineers project completed six months before sandy. >> they basically brought the waves to a stand still at this point. >> reporter: stew farrell is a coastal geologist who's examining how sand barriers stop rising water pushed ashore by the storm. >> in places where the projects had not been constructed, the damage was extensive and in some cases catastrophic. >> reporter: since 1986, the federal government helped new jersey pay $700 million to build sand walls as high as 22 feet. but some critics, including steve ellis of taxpayers for common sense, call it a beach bailout. >> what we need do is actually reorient the funding so that the
majority of the cost is picked up by the localities rather than the federal taxpayer and when you look at sea level rise, we are in a situation where we're not going to be able to hold back the ocean with just sand anymore. >> sandy was ferocious. >> reporter: jeff davis agreed with neighbors who opposed the dunes because they restrict beach access and blocked views. what he sees today has changed his mind. >> can i put that crow down that i'm eating? ( laughs ) >> reporter: president obama has requested that congress allocate $60 million for hurricane sandy aid-- an unspecified amount will go toward rebuilding protective dunes washed away by sandy. seth doane, cbs news, long beach island, new jersey. >> pelley: there was an unusual murder yesterday in a high-rent section of new york city in broad daylight in front of hundreds of witnesses. investigators say it looks like a professional hit and there are pictures. that is the victim, a 31-year- old los angeles man, brandon
woodard, apparently texting. the gunman is right behind him in the hoodie and that looks like a gun coming out of his right pocket. one shot to the head and then the gunman calmly got into a car and was slowly driven away. we don't know about the motive, but the victim has a record of arrests for theft and drug possession. we have new information now on why nelson mandela is in the hospital and his story is next. [ loud party sounds ]
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>> pelley: south africa's government said today nelson mandela has a lung infection but is responding to treatment. mandela's 94-- he's been in the hospital since saturday. the former president's history of lung problems began during the 27 years that he was in prison for leading the antiapartheid movement. federal education researchers said today that elementary school students in this country
have improved their science and math scores, but they're still behind some countries, especially in asia. south korean fourth graders topped the science list with the united states in seventh place. in math, singapore is number one while american fourth graders ranked 11th. while there's no lack of science or math at the air force, apparently. at cape canaveral today the air force launched a mini shuttle, a space plane called the x-37b. it looks like the old shuttle but it's about a quarter of the size and apparently it's unmanned. the mission today is top secret, but the last time the air force launched one of these space planes it stayed in orbit for 15 months. among the holiday decorations all over america, there are none more special than these. where they came from is a story in itself. next.
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from the capital to the white house tonight, the washington area is all decked out in christmas greenery. that includes the most sacred ground in america. and therein lies a tale told by michelle miller. >> reporter: morrill worcester has been running this wreath- making business in columbia falls, maine, for 42 years. back in 1992, worcester had a surplus of wreaths and a great idea about what to do with them. >> as a boy, i won a trip to washington. and one of the things that i saw was arlington national cemetery, and i just never forgot that. then when they had that wreaths left over, i said it would be nice if i could maybe place them on the graves of the veterans. >> reporter: so worcester headed to arlington national cemetery
to lay 5,000 wreaths. >> the first 14 years, nobody really knew about it. and it was a family gift to the military that, you know, i said, we'll always do that, and we always have. >> reporter: in 2006 a pentagon photographer published a photo. donations poured in and the nonprofit, wreaths across america, was born. karen worcester is morrill's wife. >> it's not unusual to have the phone ring; and he would pick up the phone and they'd say, is this morrill worcester? and he would say, yes. and then the person on the other end would begin to sob, and they just could hardly get out, "thank you for remembering." >> that's the face of freedom right there. >> reporter: 21-year-old specialist dustin harris was killed by a bomb in iraq in 2006. james troutt is his grandfather. >> most of our men and women after 9/11, they had a commitment. that's what dustin had, a commitment.
>> reporter: now troutt is also committed to serve as a volunteer. >> it's the circle of life, really. it's round and it's got a nice red bow. it's just the circle of life, and that's what it is. >> reporter: now more than 100,000 volunteers are placing wreaths at 800 veterans memorials and cemeteries, ending on saturday at arlington. when you think about that kind of impact, you know, do you say, wow? a man of few words whose works speak of remembrance, sacrifice and honor. michelle miller, cbs news, columbia falls, maine. and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. with thanks to the jones day law firm for this view of the capital and for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night.
>> your realtime captioner: linda marie macdonald. good evening, i'm allen martin. >> i'm elizabeth cook. breaking news out of the portland area tonight. three people killed as a gunman opens fire in a mall in clackamas, oregon. police confirmed the shooter is also dead. one other person is injured and rushed to an area hospital. here's a live look at the activity outside the mall. nearly 100 officers are sweeping clackamas town center looking for possible other victims of the shooting. witnesses describe chaos near the food court when the shots rang out people running, others ducking into stores or hiding behind trash cans. one shopper says the shooter a man was dressed in black wearing a white halloween mask. one person describes what she saw. >> i heard something similar to
a .22 popping probably 8 times. people dropping everywhere, people screaming, then people just turned and started running in terror. people were dropping. it was chaos. >> there's several employees and patrons of the mallhave secured themselves or hidden in various rooms and carefully one at a time we're approaching those people gathering and escorting them out of the mall. >> also trying to piece together the various accounts from witnesses again the man who opened fire in the food court of the portland area mall is now dead. two shooting victims have also died and a third has been wounded. we'll be monitoring late developments from clackamas, oregon, and bring you updates as they come in. now to a developing story in the south bay. a 16-year-old boy found shot to death in san jose, it is the city's 44th homicide of the year. cbs 5 reporter kiet do on how officers responding to an